1,852 of 1,953 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2011
*** Note: Updated January 1, 2015 - see new section at end ***
Here's the problem with Sonos. Most of these reviews are worthless for a new customer as they have no concept what the various components do, how they fit together and what they should get! In fact, I will say that Sonos could significantly improve the messaging of their products. Think about it -- is a new customer going to have any idea what ZonePlayer or Bridge means. Even their website is quite confusing for someone new to all of this stuff. For example, they sell a ZonePlayer120 and ZonePlayer90, which have vastly different functionality. Sonos should just get rid of their marketing folks and hire some people from Apple to fix the messaging confusion. My advice for folks who want to learn more about Sonos is to find a friend with one or go to local stereo shop. Fortunately, the folks on the tech-side of Sonos know what the heck they are doing and why I give this 5 stars!
OK, I just bought a new Black Play:3 along with the Bridge. In a nutshell, here is probably all you need to know:
- Why... The Play:3 is essentially for folks who want to listen to their digital music through a high-quality speaker system that is wirelessly connected to sources of music. Typically, the music is coming from your computer's library (e.g., iTunes) or some internet service such as Pandora or TuneIn (internet radio). How do you control all of this -- by using one of their nifty free apps which run on iPhones, iPod Touch, Androids, iPads (with more to come).
- The Play:3 is your speaker component where sound comes out of. The only connection to worry about is AC power. The beauty of this is that you can move your speaker anywhere in your house at will just as you would with a clock radio.
- The Bridge is a little white box that connects to your WiFi router. It functions to stream music from the source to your Play:3 speaker, wherever that may be. Sure, you don't really need this $50 box as you could plug your Play:3 into your router, but then you defeat much of the purpose for getting a Sonos (wireless portability).
- Sonos makes setup of everything about as easy as possible. If you have a firewall (e.g., at workplace), then things become a little more complicated (you're best off just calling tech support instead of wasting hours figuring it out, which I know many have done).
- I decided to copy my entire iTunes library to a network (NAS) drive and just have Sonos access this. Essentially, I have a portable 500GB Western Digital USB drive connected to my Apple Airport Extreme base station. It is ridiculously easy to setup. The advantage of this is that my music is always available instead of needing my computer to be turned on. Also, much of disk space on my Macbook Pro is used for photos and videos. I should say that another reason I did this was because I am running Mac OS Lion, which is not yet supported by Sonos (but this will be addressed very soon).
- The nice thing about Sonos is that I can easily expand my system later on. For example, I can buy another Play:3 so that I can setup the two in stereo. Or I can create multiple zones in my house (e.g., bedroom, living room) with each Play:3 playing different music at the same time.
- The main limitation of the Play:3 is that there is no line-in jack. This means you cannot connect an outside audio source such as a CD player. And because of this limitation, you cannot configure it using an Apple Airport Express to stream from your iOS device using Apple's Airplay technology. The Play:5 system has a line-in if you really some of these features. Personally, I would love to see Sonos come out with a cheap little white box that just has some line-in audio jacks (including optical). This box could address some of the Play:3 limitations as well as offering an easy way to connect the Sonos system to an Apple TV.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with my purchase and will likely buy another Play:3 shortly to further enhance my system. It just works...and sounds great!
*** Update January 1, 2015 ***
I wanted to do a brief update on a number of things.
- OK, many folks have pointed out that Sonos no longer requires you to have a Bridge as you can use your existing WiFi (since Summer of 2014). I still prefer using the dedicated Sonos network as it has better range than my WiFi although the new Boost component can address this issue in a similar manner if using WiFi. The other thing to know is that Sonos often offers bundles where the Bridge is free ($49 normally). So try to get one of these deals if you can, but I wouldn't pay extra unless you know your home has areas where the WiFi signal is not strong and you might want to have a Sonos component there.
- There seems to be a lot of confusion these days comparing a Sonos speaker like the Play:1 and other wireless Bluetooth speakers like those made by UE, Jawbone, and Bose. First off, we should be clear that the term "wireless" refers to the connection between the speaker and sound source. All Sonos speakers require power from an electrical outlet whereas many Bluetooth ones are powered by battery. The other difference folks misunderstand is that Sonos does not directly output sound that's coming from your computer like a Bluetooth speaker can. It primarily accesses the music library (e.g., iTunes) on your computer (or from a NAS drive). If you want to stream what is playing from your computer to Sonos, you need a Sonos component which has a line-in. Most folks use either a Play:5 or a Connect. You can certainly have a wired connection between your computer and the line-in port of your Sonos component, but I like to use my Connect with a dedicated Airport Express so that I can stream wirelessly via AirPlay. I also use the Connect to stream to my older home stereo.
- I recently picked up one of Neil Young's Pono players so I can start listening to more high definition lossless music on the go (e.g., FLAC, ALAC files). One of the things to be aware of with Sonos is that while they do support many of these file formats, they are limited to 16 bit files. A CD that you rip to a lossless format such as Apple's ALAC will have a 44.1/16 sampling rate, which Sonos, Media Player and iTunes support. If you want to purchase higher quality music such as 44.1/24, 96/24 or 192/24, which you can get from Pono Music Store, HDTracks or Archive.org, Sonos does NOT currently support these formats. The reason I bring this up is that I do think these formats will become more popular in the future so folks should know Sonos limitations.
92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
Summary: We're a huge Apple family, so we were unsure if we needed Sonos. In the end, I've become a huge fan of Sonos, realizing that no one else including Apple can do what Sonos does. I had no idea what we were missing, or how much more music we'd play if we had a different way to interact with our music library or TV audio. In the end, we find ourselves dancing or singing to music way more often than we ever did before Sonos.
When we wanted to add music to our house, multiple people in my neighborhood said that hands down, we needed to use Sonos. The reasons why, as I've discovered, are pretty simple:
1. it plays anything / everything. from my iTunes/MP3 library on my computer, to local radio, to pandora, to SiriusXM, to MOG, to accepting the audio from my TV or other sources, Sonos plays every source I have. Plus, since it picks up audio from our home network/internet, it seems to be pretty future proof.
2. the user interface is super simple, even for non techies. using an iPod/iPhone/iPad or a computer (PC or mac), literally, 3 touches and the right music is playing for hours and even days. We put the usability to the test this weekend when my parents (in their 80s visited), and they picked it up right away.
3. Setting it up is super simple. there is no programming - it's the equivalent of the old clock radios I grew up with. I just plugged in the Bridge (i.e. to "bridge" from your network to the sonos device(s)) to the wall and my router, pressed a button on the top of the bridge and tapped on the controller (for me it was my iPad), and boom - the system was on my network and ready to stream music. It even searched my network and found our iTunes libraries. To add a new speaker (Play:3), I just plugged in the new device to an electrical outlet, then press 2 buttons on the top of the Play:3 and a button on my iPad, and boom - the new speaker shows up as an option to play music.
4. synchronization or NOT. We are a family of 4, so sometimes we want each Sonos device to play different music. And, when we have people over and we want all the rooms to play the same audio (even with each at different volumes), Sonos supports that too. Literally, the sonos software allows you to group in different "zones" (i.e. speakers) to play the same music or different sources with 2 clicks.
5. variety of solutions. When we updated our home recently, we installed a ZonePlayer 120 (plays all the music from any source, plus is an amplifier) for our kitchen, a ZonePlayer 90 (plays all the music from any source but allowed us to reuse our existing amplifier, plus takes in audio from another source like our TV to pump it out to the other sonos devices) for our TV room. Since they don't have speakers of their own, they are really just a way to create a music network. And this weekend, I added a Play:3 to my setup...
* Compact - less than a foot wide, less than a half foot tall and wide. Easily disappears on a bookshelf among books, on my nightstand, or in the corner of my kids room.
* Audio quality - Honestly, was amazed. Same or better than the Bose Wave, Cambridge Soundworks, and anything else I've had bedside. Amazing the bass and crystal clear highs.
* Easy of use - I am using the Play:3 bedside now, and I can set my wake up alarm from any room in the house (I don't disturb my wife when she is sleeping). I can wake up my wife to music without ever being in the bedroom (I try not blare Back in Black unless I am really jealous).
* Flexible - if my kids want music in a room without music, they can just grab my play:3 and move it to the room and they instantly have music.
Overall, I can't find fault with the product. A lower price would certainly allow me to have Play:3's in every room in the house, but I absolutely appreciate the value in each of the Sonos devices.
270 of 318 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
I had 3 Sonos 5's (now called the play:5) and I wanted to add 4th. The play:3 came out so I decided to save the $100 or so and go for the play:3 after reading all the reviews of it. I had the unit exactly 30 minutes before deciding to return it. It's not even close to the 5's. Volume is control is jumpy, not linear like the 5's, power is about half of 5's and once the volume is over 50% the sound starts to get real tinny.
Bottom line is if you don't have anything to compare the play:3 against you may be perfectly happy with it, but if you have any 5's in the mix you will be disappointed. I'm a huge fan of sonos but the play:3 just doesn't cut it and is way too expensive for the sound quality.
116 of 135 people found the following review helpful
We were looking for something that would allow us to play music remotely with the ability to change music without having to get up every time we wanted to hear something different. Normally we have a Tivoli radio in the kitchen for FM and we also hook an ipod touch up to it for Pandora. Not the most convenient thing to do to have to find the ipod and cable and sometimes the FM stations were hard to get it clearly. We just got the Sonos Play 3 yesterday and I have got to say we are blown away by the convenience, ease of setup and sound quality.
Keep in mind you have to buy the Sonos Bridge if you want to use it wirelessly. I also bought the bridge and hooked it up to our router. I put in the setup cd and everything was running smoothly in less than 10 minutes. Easiest setup for a gadget in a long time. I then downloaded the Sonos Ipad app, then signed in to my Spotify and Pandora accounts and I was streaming effortlessly in 5 minutes. Controlling the songs from the Sonos software was really easy and I could change songs and even change the volume easily. Overall I am so impressed with the Sonos Play 3 we are going to get another for our nursery. I am a gadget geek and this is the most impressed I have been with a gadget in a very long time. Highly recommended.
Update: I have ordered another Play 3 in white for our nursery and expect delivery this week. Once it arrives and I have set it up and tested it I will update this review with thoughts on how a multiple zone speaker set up works.
Update 2 August 17: We have had the additional Play 3 speaker in the nursery for over two weeks and it works like a charm. I mainly use the Ipad app to control the speakers while at home and it is really easy to switch between the two speakers/zones and make seperate playlists, control volume seperately, etc. It could not be easier. Also, I now have added the Sirius/XM service and I can stream any of those channels with ease. I can be playing NFL Radio down in the living room while the nursery has classical music playing and it all goes off without a hitch. VERY happy.
Update 3 January 10, 2013: I have now had the Play 3 speaker for almost 1.5yrs. It still sounds just as good as the day I got it and I have not had a single problem. We run the software on our macbook air, iphones, ipads, android phone and android tablet. It has run flawlessly from all sources and the software has been solid as a rock. If you have the money this is the one to get. I recommend this to all my friends and family looking for a wireless audio solution. It is that awesome.
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
I am cross posting this from my Play:5 Review with some edits to reflect the Play:3
If you are new to Sonos, read up on how it works before you jump in. To be brief it is a separate wireless network from your existing wifi. Unlike your wifi router each "node" or Sonos Component is a broadcaster, so whenever you place a new component in your home you expand out the network's range.
Because it is a separate network it needs to be wired to your existing router to connect to the internet as well as the rest of your home network. You can do this at any node, but if none are convenient you can buy the Sonos Bridge (or get it free via promotion) to act as a new node that connects to your existing network.
The sound system is controlled by applications that you download on your phone, tablet or computer. The Android application can connect via the Sonos network, but the rest will need to be connected to your network via Ethernet cable or existing wifi.
I set up a two zone system with a Play:3 in my bedroom and a Play:5 in my kitchen/living room. Setup was relatively quick and easy. I got the bridge and Play:5 set up in my bedroom with no problems, but when I went to move the Play:5 to the kitchen it could not re-connect. I quickly realized it was from interference at the bridge, which was right next to my computer tower and wifi-router. I cut the head off a nail and mounted the Bridge to the wall behind my monitors and the wireless connection has been great. Setting up the Play:3 was quite easy, and took only a few minutes while I was doing something else. I did have a few problems with my controllers needing to be reset and reconnect to the network, but I solved this by disabling a few odd DNS settings the were enabled on my Router.
I never needed Sonos tech support, but by most accounts they are helpful.
The music is great, the quality is quite good for this non-audiophile. The Play:3 is able to fill my bedroom just fine, but if you want a deeper bass or like to play it loud you may want to go for a Play:5 or even a Connect:Amp with some good speakers and a Sub. I have not had any of the drop-outs that most wireless sound systems have. That is because Sonos runs it own wireless network which won't be bogged down when other wireless devices start consuming data over your wifi network.
Sonos is able to access the music on my computer quite well, I have about 10,000 songs and it is just fine, although some people have said they have trouble at 65,000 songs. The tune-in app works great for streaming radio stations, and Spotify premium (monthly fee) also gives a great selection of music and works flawlessly with the system.
Selecting music, switching rooms to listen in, and the ease of the system has really let me enjoy music much more.
Like I said earlier the Sonos network is basically a system of nodes that each broadcast their own wifi networks. That is great when you are playing music, but when it is idle each point consumes about 6.5W. This allows the system to start playing quickly when you want it to, but it comes at a high energy cost, especially for those with many components on their networks.
These are marketed to be smart components, but they lack options for reducing energy consumption; Options that really don't require any extra hardware. Sonos could let you make the units sleep during times you know they wont be needed. If you did happen to need them while they sleep, a press of the button on the speaker could wake it up.
Perhaps the most frustrating is that Sonos wants you to think you can not turn the wireless function off. You can; search google for "disable sonos wifi" the first non-Sonos result currently has the info. Sonos deletes any posts on their website that mention this. Some people have all or part of their Sonos components wired and don't need to be wasting energy, at least give them the option to do so, when it clearly is available.
I really want to drop the rating more because of the energy and specifically the wifi toggle, but the rest of the system is so good that I left it at four stars. If Sonos gets their act together and stops ignoring their customers on this I would be glad to change it to 5.
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
Let me start by saying that for years I've found the Sonos system to be fantastic. You can play the same music on every Sonos device in your house, but you don't have to--each device can play different music simultaneously. If someone in your household is not technical and is easily frustrated by setup and remotes, you'll love Sonos. It's simple to set up and simple to use. The free Sonos app for the iPad in particular is excellent (probably because there was so much more real estate for the developers to work with). The proprietary peer-to-peer mesh network Sonos uses to broadcast music to each device is very reliable--probably more so than your home wireless network used by AirPlay speakers. While Sonos dropped the ball for Mac users on the upgrade to OSX Lion, they did get their act together and worked hard to update their software. I participated in the OSX Lion beta testing and thought the developers were great. I also had a problem when I bought my first Sonos unit, because it didn't work with my aging router (which I ended up replacing). However, I've always found the Sonos support personnel to be very knowledgeable and very helpful, either by telephone or by email.
Now for the Play 3. We're remodeling our kitchen, and we planned to install two wired speakers in the ceiling. I decided to give the Sonos powered speakers a try first, since we already have two Sonos Zone Players (now called "Connect") in our house and love the Sonos system. Unfortunately, I found the Play 3 to be disappointing. With this unit oriented horizontally, it uses some sort of DSP processing to try to create a wider sound field, but the result is not good. I couldn't listen to it in the horizontal position for longer than about 15 minutes without having it really bother me. If you rotate the speaker to the vertical position, the DSP processing turns off and the sound is much crisper, cleaner, and centered. However, it then sounds like 1930's radio, with all the music coming from a single, point source. Two Play 3 units would take up more room than we want on the counter top, might look ugly hanging from the wall, and would be pretty expensive. At this point, I was sure I would have to install a pair of wired ceiling speakers to get any kind of wide, full sound in the kitchen.
Before giving up altogether, I decided to try the more expensive Sonos 5. As it turns out, the difference between these two Sonos wireless speakers is like night and day. The Sonos 5, which only sits in a horizontal position, produces a rich, full, clean sound that fills our kitchen and sounds great. By contrast, the Play 3 treble sounds weaker, the midrange is somewhat muddy, and the bass is smaller and seems distorted. If you have the space, for a third more money you can get at least three times better sound by going with the Play 5 instead of the Play 3.
The Play 3 is relatively light and doesn't take up much space, especially in a vertical orientation.
This unit includes a screw hole in the back and could be mounted on a wall or a ceiling using a strong enough bracket.
You can pair two Play 3 units to produce true stereo sound (though I haven't tried this)
The Play 3 has no bass driver and only one tweeter. The sound it generates is fairly limited, and it seems especially distorted when the unit is oriented horizontally.
Unlike the larger Play 5, this unit does not include a second Ethernet port, a headphone jack, or an analog line-in jack.
This powered speaker works with all the Sonos features and thus could make a nice addition to your home audio system. However, before you buy a Sonos Play 3, I recommend you compare it to the Sonos Play 5. To my ear, the difference in sound quality is well worth the extra cost.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
I bought a Play:5 and reviewed it a few weeks ago on Amazon . I loved the Play:5 enough that I bought the Play:3 a few weeks later (I bought the Play:5 at BBuy; cause they threw in the bridge for free). People have complained in the reviews that the 3 does not sound as good as the 5 and that may be true but to my ears the 3 sounds really good. I think the difference is that the 5 sounds great placed anywhere (because of the ported bass), whereas the 3 sounds great depending on where it's placed ( because of the passive radiator..... I also tweaked the treble and bass and that improved the detail enormously). I find that somewhere near a wall or an enclosed shelf brings out the base and gives the 3 a really well rounded sound.
I was a little reticent about getting the 3 after a number of negative reviews but after getting them I have no qualms recommending them, especially since you can buy a second one and pair them for a wider stereo soundstage (which you can do with the 5 as well but for most people that's overkill and a sure way to make your neighbors hate you). I like the thought of having 3's around the apt. and if people come over for a little get together, I can grab a 3 take it to the living room and pair it. This system is very versatile, easy to setup and upgradable. Fortunately for me I had a lot of components already to make the experience richer. I have an external drive connected to my router (an airport extreme) so all my music is accessible whether the computer is on or not; I also had an airport express so was able to add AirPlay to the Sonos, so now me or my guests can stream music from iOS devices.
I bought this system to play my music around the whole apartment but Sonos has so many Internet services that I don't access my stuff that much and actually I ended up paying for Spotify (something I said I would never do). I like having all that music streaming around my apartment and being able to put it on my iPhone. I am now a convert to Spotify. Having bought a Sonos system has me listening to music around the house more (something I had not been doing for a long time). The combo of Sonos and Spotify & Pandora has renewed my interest in music again. I love it. While its not cheap, you can't really put a price on the enjoyment of having effortless music throughout your home.
44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2014
Context: My starting point is a 21 yr old Technics mid size system that originally cost $500. Each of the two speakers has three drivers and is about 15". My living room is regular sized --30' x 30'. Sonos does a good job with their advertising, billing their system as a new age wireless hi-fi system, and they convinced me to give it a go. I installed the speakers on stable surfaces, and tried both low and chest height locations. I did not crank the volume way up; I care about sound quality, not loudness.
First the positive:
The set up of the Sonos system was a breeze; I liked the Sonos controller apps for iPad and Android; and the system works with a lot of online services and locally stored content.
Now the deal-breaking negative:
The sound quality was dissapointingly bad. I set up two Play 3s in stereo configuration and tested them wth a high bit rate audio recording of Bethoven's fifth stored locally on an iPad. The stereo separation was poor; there is not a clear sense of space from the stereo sound. The low range was significantly lacking even after the bass was adjusted up. The bass could possibly be fixed with the Sonos woofer, but the woofer would not fix the big issue... The mid range and upper range had significant distortion. In short they sounded like really cheap iPod dock speakers, not the quality hi-fi system advertised.
Sonos Play 5 not much better:
I decided to give Sonos a second chance with a couple of Play 5 speakers, and I ran a comparison between my old speakers, the Play 3s and the Play 5s. The Play 5s were better than the Play 3s in terms of distortion. However, they still lacked the lower range and sounded small. This may simply be due to the lack of volume in these speakers.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
I've been looking at the Sonos system for several years. I never pulled the trigger as I had gotten burned by earlier wireless music server efforts from Creative and others. I just received a Play:5, Play:3 and a Bridge for Christmas, so I had to try it out.
One important fact to remember about all Sonos devices is they are useless without the Sonos software. If the company ever goes belly up, you're going to be left with expensive and useless electronics. The company also has a bit of a reputation for eliminating features without warning.
This review covers the Bridge and Play:3.
If you want to use any of the Sonos devices wirelessly, you need to purchase the Bridge. If you don't want to shell out for the Bridge, you'll have to connect at least one Sonos device to your network via Ethernet cable. The Bridge is a small device that you attach to your router. The Bridge connects all the Sonos units to your Wi-Fi setup. The Sonos system doesn't use your Wi-Fi when streaming. It uses a proprietary wireless mesh network to stream. This prevents dropouts and other issues as the mesh network is separate from your Wi-Fi network. Once the Bridge is installed, you only have to interact with it when you add new Sonos devices.
After the Bridge was connected to my router, I installed the Sonos software on my desktop computer. After the install, the software can look for music files on your computer automatically or you can choose the location yourself. The software quickly found the Bridge and the music I have on my computer. Presently I have around 28,000 songs in my collection in both MP3 (320 kbs) and WMA Lossless. The Sonos system does not support WMA lossless, so I had it search for the MP3 files. It did this quite quickly and within 10 minutes had indexed all 28K MP3 files. Sonos has a limit of 65,000 songs, so I was far below that limit. I have read a fair share of complaints as to the time it takes to index large collections, but I was impressed with how quickly the software indexed my collection.
I then unpacked the Play:3 and proceeded to connect it with the Bridge wirelessly. To do this you simply select 'add new Sonos Device' from the menu on the software. I then went to the Play:3 and depressed two of the three buttons on the device and in a few moments the devices were talking to each other. Again this process was pain free and quick. Just a few moments after unpacking, I was listening to the Play:3. The fit and finish on the Play:3 is very good. It appears the Sonos people have used Apple as their model. The packaging and presentation of the product is first rate. The Play:3 has a sensor that can tell how the unit is orientated. When placed horizontally, the unit is in stereo mode, when vertical, the software blends the 2 stereo channels. The trim on the sides of the unit is covered with a rubbery type material that keeps the speaker from moving around. There is a mounting hole with a threaded opening to connect to many 3rd party wall and ceiling mounts. The three buttons on the speaker are for up/down volume and mute. You'll hardly ever control the speaker using these buttons. You'll use either your smartphone or tablet to do so, but it's nice to have those buttons if your phone/tablet is not handy. The Sonos logo does not rotate, so if placed in the vertical position, the logo is sideways. The grill is not removable. The speaker weighs in about 7 pounds or so. Because the unit has an integrated amp within, it has cooling slots on the back. Sonos does not recommend outdoor installation.
How does the Play:3 sound? Pretty darn good! Since it is a single speaker, you're not going to get much in the way of stereo separation, but it sounds very pleasing and smooth at low to medium levels. After you push the volume up past 60%, the speaker appears to struggle with bass notes and sounds somewhat harsh, especially with compressed MP3 material. This speaker is not about blasting your eardrums, it is more for enjoying music at reasonable levels in any location in your home that has 110V power. The Play:3 sounds much better than the Big Jambox my wife has, with deeper more extended bass and crisper mids and highs. That being said, this is not a hi fi speaker. It sounds quite good considering how smalll it is. If you compare the sound of the Play:3 to most any $300 bookshelf speakers the Sonos will lose every time. You're paying extra for the electronics inside and the software. If you want to move the unit to a different location, you don't have to go through the install again. You simply plug it in to the new ouitlet and in a few moments it connects to the Bridge. When the speaker is oriented with the back facing a wall, the bass is pleasing and surprsing for such a small speaker. When nothing is behind the speaker, the bass output almost disappears. While this is typical for most speakers, it seems more pronounced on the Play:3. You may also pair the Play:3 with another Play:3 to create a stereo pair. I have not done this so I can't comment.
You can control the Sonos system from either your iOS or Android device as well as your laptop or desktop WIN/mac computer. I have my software installed on a Windows 7 desktop and a Samsung Galaxy III phone. I've had no problems with either, save for the occasional glitch. You can't listen to your music while at the computer using the Sonos software. You can control every aspect of the system, but can't hear what is playing unless you're within earshot of a Sonos speaker. The same applies to the phone or tablet you're going to use as well. I've read many negative comments about this, but it makes sense from Sonos' standpoint. They want you to buy Sonos gear to hear the system. If they allowed this, there would be much less reason to purchase other Sonos units. I consider this a small drawback.
To install the software on your phone or tablet, you'll need to download the app from either the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store. What I find quite nice about the phone/tab software is you can control all the aspects of the system just as you can from your PC. This makes it easy to add new devices and manage the system.
While you can listen to your private collection, you can also enjoy many Internet music streaming sites, many local radio stations and also the Amazon Cloud Player (ACP). I use ACP and it works quite well and is integrated within the Sonos system very nicely. Since the ACP files are of lower quality (typically 256 kbs), the audio quality of these files is not as good as even the 320 kbs MP3 files.
Switching from one song to another takes a little longer than a typical CD player, especially if you're listening to anything streamed. The delay is not that bad, but it does take a moment longer than you may expect. Playlists are easy to import and create. Sonos has a different take on how to create playlists, but it works okay once you get the idea. When adding new music you'll need to copy/encode the files and then have the Sonos software re-index your collection. This takes a few minutes typically.
If you choose to have your music stored on your laptop/desktop PC, the computer needs to be powered up at all times so that the Sonos can find the music. You can access ACP and other streaming sites when your PC is powered down, but you lose the ability to hear the music stored on the PC. You may also store your music on a NAS. I have a 500GB hard drive connected to my router via USB 2. The system found the NAS drive quickly and effortlessly. Now that I have my music on this NAS drive, I don't lose my collection when I power down my PC.
Since I have all my files encoded at both MP3 and WMA lossless, I was unable to use my WMA files as they are not supported by Sonos. Lower bit rate WMA files are supported, but not lossless. This was a bit of a bummer since the WMA files sound so much better than the MP3 files. I have begun to re-encode my entire collection using FLAC lossless, a supported format. This is the one fly in the ointment for me as it will take me weeks to do this re-encoding of 3500 or so CD's.
If I was considering purchasing anything Sonos, I would spend some time on the Sonos users forums and see what other people are saying. While I've experienced a few small glitches, many others suffer with compatibility issues with software and/or network issues.
Since receiving the Sonos as a gift, I've purchased another Play:3, Play:5 and 2 Connect units. They have all been easy to setup and work perfectly. I've noticed that as I've expanded the system glitches happen more frequently and the software struggles a bit more, but over all I'm very pleased.
The big plus with the system is we are all listening to more music and watching less TV. The system also is a platform for sharing my music collection with my children. They also get to share their stuff with me.
Just remember that this is all computer type equipment. When you upgrade to a new phone/tablet/desktop or laptop, your may have issues that you didn't before. Sonos, also in a very Apple way, stops supporting older OS's without warning. You could come home from work one day and the system won't be working. It appears best to have automatic updating on the Sonos software turned off, so this won't happen.
Overall a winner, with caveats.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I have a Sonos system already with two ZP120's and two ZP90's as well as an iPod dock and to unpack and have Pandora playing on my Sonos Play 3 was 12 minutes. The large majority of the time was a software update and carefully cutting away the tape at the top of the package. Like all Sonos components, the set-up is easy and fast. Friends of mine have been blown away by how good my speakers sound running Pandora, internet radio and my iTunes library and I am not sure I understand WHY either-just that it is. Sonos sounds great.
Positives: This item is not very big but produces big sound with full bass. I am a slight audiophile and cannot imagine being able to get much better sound out of a box that size. Great mids and excellent detail on the highs. I have it in a bedroom that is medium sized and of course it fills up the whole room with more than enough sound. I cannot imagine someone not being happy with this quality of sound given the size of this box.
Easy to set-up and melds beautifully with your other Sonos components.
Ability to meld with a 2nd Play 3 to form a more robust sound.
Great sized footprint-not too big not too small.
Only one wire-and that's the power plug. That gets you basically unlimited music from your library or online streaming as well as a robust and beautiful sound.
Negatives: The item is average looking and not extremely attractive-but then again it's just a box
No connections on the back except an ethernet port. No line in and certainly no option to power additional speakers off of this unit. Literally, there are NO other connections on this item and most "Dock" like speakers have a line in. What this means is that if you want to use it as your speaker for your DVD player, DVR or a music player not connected wirelessly with Sonos, you are not going to be able to.
Not cheap. The comparison I can think of off hand is the Bose Sounddock-which obviously does not have the wireless capability that this item has-and the Sounddock is more expensive than the Play 3-so considering all that can be done with this Play 3-it's probably priced about right but there are no giveaways here.
Summary: I am thrilled with this item and will now probably look to get a Play 5 for a larger room downstairs and get rid of my ZP120 down there. The Play 5 does have a deeper more full sound but it's $100 more and has a much larger footprint. Also, I will probably get two Play 5's and then I can use them as stereo or move them around the house easily and still connect to my Sonos network. If you have a space where you don't need/want a lot of wires and don't have a lot of space for speakers with a ZP120 or ZP90 with an amp-this item is for you. In small to medium rooms, this will give you the sound you want. An extremely impressive product that I cannot speak highly enough about!